Sudbury Symphony seeking $52,000 bailout from city

Another local arts organization is seeking a bailout from the City of Greater Sudbury. City council will vote tonight on whether to give the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra emergency funding. The group is seeking $52,000.

City council to vote on motion at meeting tonight

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Another local arts organization is seeking an emergency bailout from the City of Greater Sudbury.

City council will vote tonight on whether to give the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra emergency funding. The group is seeking $52,000.

Last fall, city council approved $200,000 in emergency funding to help the Sudbury Theatre Centre (STC) pay its creditors.

Brian Koivu, a member of the board of directors for the Sudbury Symphony, blames a collection of financial difficulties over the past 4 to 5 years for their current problem.

"You get into a situation where you're spending next year's money to pay last year's bills. We're in a situation right now with the orchestra where we're in need of cash," he said.

The money problems have been pilling up, as the organization attempts to pay bills past due.

Koivu says the symphony has commitments to its subscriber base, that is, their ticket holders who have paid in advance to attend concerts.

"We're trying to finish a season. Now we have one more concert. We had a February [concert], we had a March [concert], we had an April [concert]...and at that point we're thinking 'My gosh. Can we get to June?'"

Brian Koivu, is a member of the board for the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra. They are seeking $52,000 in urgent funding from the city of Greater Sudbury to help pay creditors. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

Koivu explains that the orchestra is semi-professional, in that core musicians are paid for their services, while the vast majority are local volunteers.

The organization also pays rent to use space at Glad Tidings Pentecostal Church. Koivu says they also have bills for utilities at its office space, and must pay talent fees for guest musicians who have performed with the symphony.

New business model

Since February the organization has worked to redesign and rebuild its business model Koivu said.

He added the symphony is looking into ways to collaborate with the Sudbury Theatre Centre in the future, like possibly sharing a venue, administration, ticketing or marketing.

"One of our undertakings to [Mayor Brian Bigger] and to the city council is to go about our business in such a way that we won't need to have this kind of thing in the future," Koivu said.

"That we can operate on the plus side of the ledger and not on the negative side."

With files from Angela Gemmill